CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. —When George Bernardino needed something in the U.S. Navy clinics he ran over the years, all he had to do was sign a requisition.
Bernardino is not in the Navy anymore.
Two weeks ago, chosen from a slate of 56 applicants, he took over as public health administrator for the Jefferson County Health Department. Now when he wants something that exceeds his budget, he’ll fill out grant applications.
“Finding the funds to improve things will be my biggest challenge,” he said.
Bernardino, 39, retired in August, ending a 20-year Navy hitch, almost all as a hospital corpsman.
Bernardino replaces Amy Jones, who ran the Jefferson County department for about five years until she resigned to take a position with Washington County Public Schools, said Mark Shields, chairman of the department’s board of directors.
“George has a lot of experience running health clinics,” Shields said when asked why Bernardino was hired.
The department serves three functions, Shields said.
The department’s clinic does vaccinations and various screenings, and monitors outbreaks. Three licensed practical nurses handle the 30 to 40 patients who visit the clinic daily, Bernardino said.
The two sanitarians in the department’s environmental protection division inspect water systems, septic systems, restaurants and child-care facilities, Shields said.
The third segment deals with emergency preparedness. The division is handled by a threat-preparedness coordinator, who works closely with the local Office of Homeland Security.
Bernardino and two office workers make up the rest of the agency’s nine paid staffers.
Bernardino was born in the Philippines. He left the country when he was 8. His stepfather served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, and consequently, the family lived in many places.
The same is true for Bernardino’s wife, Rowena, and his son, Brandon, 13, a student at North Middle School in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Now that the family is settled in Martinsburg, Bernardino said his son will attend Martinsburg High School in the fall.
“We moved around a lot in the Navy. Now he’s looking forward to being able to stay in the same school,” Bernardino said.